Nine people have been arrested and are accused of running a “sophisticated” stolen car ring in Ventura County, officials announced Friday.
Additionally, authorities seized 28 suspected stolen vehicle, more than $130,000 in cash, four handguns, a rifle and high-capacity magazines.
Since last November, 16 Dodge Hellcat high-performance vehicles had been stolen in Ventura County, each worth more than $90,000, according to sheriff’s officials.
Ten of the 16 stolen vehicles were recovered and detectives are working to recover the remaining six.
During the investigation, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office detectives discovered that law enforcement agencies in San Bernardino County were also seeing stolen vehicles in their jurisdiction that followed a similar MO, and a person they believed was facilitating the stolen vehicles was also connected to the incidents in their region.
On Wednesday, investigators from specialized local units, along with those from the Los Angeles Police Department served search warrants at 18 locations throughout Southern California, including L.A., Kern and San Bernardino counties.
Aside from the seized items, authorities also found other evidence related to the illegal sale of stolen vehicles, including the fraudulent registration of stolen vehicles and evidence of fake smog certifications, officials detailed.
The four Los Angeles residents arrested by Ventura County officials are:
- Marcellous Ryan, 35, booked on suspicion of unlawful taking of a vehicle, conspiracy.
- Michael Carter, 48, booked on suspicion of unlawful taking of a vehicle, conspiracy.
- Lilian Cardona, 38, booked on suspicion of false or forged instrument, conspiracy, computer related crime sand forgery of registration.
- Jesus Flores, 27, booked on suspicion of unlawful taking of a vehicle, conspiracy.
Additional gun-related charges will be filed in L.A. County against Ryan and Carter, officials said.
The operation remains under investigation.